Yesterday, Bronte left the couch before I woke. I found her asleep in her kennel. It was the first time in weeks that she had left my side. Leaving my shadow was one of her choices. Then as she stretched out of her kennel, she shook her head and repeatedly opened her mouth. Signs.

My eyes welled up as I took her outside. I let David out and I watched Bronte. Still she seemed to wrangle with her mouth. I knew I needed to look inside again. I already knew the tumor was growing back.  I scrambled an egg, as a reward, and went to have a look. What a sweet tolerant girl she was, letting me open her cancer ridden mouth wide. Wide enough to see the backside of her palate. I gave her the scrambled egg and told her she was “the besttest girl.” Yes it was larger, longer really. Just a few days had passed. Time was rushing. There was a sucking sound in my ears and a fist twisting up my heart. I knew.

When I got home from school, she didn’t come sit with me as I had my afterschool cup of coffee. If I sit on the very end of the couch, I can see right into her crate. I asked if she wanted to come join me. She didn’t move. I asked again. She lifted her head, looked at me, and put her head back down. This choice hit hard. It was clear and decisive. I took a deep breath and trying not to cry, I told Bronte it was ok, she could lie wherever she wanted.  You know if she needed some “me” time, then she should just take as much as she wanted.

The signs weren’t to come so fast. Reading, talking, hearing about the signs, I had hoped would help. Sure every dog can be different, but there are some similarities I just didn’t figure that as soon as I got off the internet I would look down to see Bronte acting them out.

Today I went to the vet to change her meds. We changed her deramaxx to prednisone. Her tramadol is now every eight hours. Tonight she looks at me with a softness in her eyes. I know it will be in her eyes that she will give me her final sign.


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